The typical woman who runs for office is over the age of 40. Any earlier, and it seems too difficult to pencil in a campaign while new relationships, student loans and a wealth of opportunities beckon. But starting later puts women at a disadvantage. Men don’t shy away from running as early as 25, and they reap the rewards of persistence, networking, and experience when they land top nominations.
I’m challenging Baltimore to find the young women in our city who are ready to enter politics as soon as the constitution will let them. You’ll know this girl when you see her. She is active in her community, and not just because she believes, somewhere, an admission’s counselor is nodding his head in approval. She can’t help but speak up when something seems unjust and she’s quick to advocate for the causes she believes in. I know you can find this young woman who is two steps away from putting a bumper sticker on your car with her name on it. When you do, I want you to ask her when she is running for office. If she laughs it off or says “I don’t know,” ask again. When she finally looks you in the eye and registers the possibility of running, get specific. Where would she like to run? What issues does she care about?
Title IX paved the way for female athletes, and ever since then, high school and college women have been coached to visualize the puck going into the goal or the ball swishing through the net. The time honored catch phrase has been “if you can dream it, you can do it.” What young women have yet to do is visualize themselves behind the podium or out on the campaign trail as fresh, young adults.